Off the Grid - Creating a Lifestyle

1 decade 1 year 3 months ago Thursday, March 29 2007 Mar 29, 2007 Thursday, March 29, 2007 7:31:00 PM CDT March 29, 2007 in News

People help the environment by recycling or conserving water and energy. But, residents of Dancing Rabbit ecovillage in Scotland County want to become completely ecologically sustainable.

Walking barefoot in the country sounds like an ideal weekend retreat, but for 25 people in Rutledge, their simple life in the country is an attempt to change the world. Tony Sirna founded Dancing Rabbit 9 years ago.

"We looked all over the country and ended up settling in Missouri because land was affordable and there were no building codes," he explained, "so we could try alternative things."

Their alternative lifestyle includes their homes. They transformed a former grain silo into apartments. They mixed straw with clay to make most of the walls, then added another layer of clay and smoothed it out.

"Our goal is to be a demonstration project of a place where people can live sustainably," said Sirna, "and where people also can come by and learn about how we do things."

People like Jenn Rabbit liked the idea and decided to join the village.

"One thing that I really like is how easy it is to live simply here," she explained. "I can live on relatively low income and still maintain a high quality of life."

Jenn occasionally leaves Dancing Rabbit. But, she's happy to be in a community of people who share her beliefs. Villagers use solar panels for energy, grow organic gardens, and catch rainwater to use.

"We can be at the forefront of different types of research or just demonstrating what we do and giving workshops and writing papers, and just having an influence on the world while also just having a really good place to live," added Sirna. "There's a lot more to revolution than saying you're a feminist or an environmentalist or alternative in any way. In order to really take a part in something that's truly going to change the world, you actually have to, in some ways, get away from mainstream society."

Dancing Rabbit members give frequent tours to individuals and school groups. They also schedule tours for the second and fourth Saturdays of each month.

Our Off the Grid series continues Thursday evening with a look at people who call themselves "river rats."

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